Education minister responds to allegations of boy with autism being locked in cupboard

New South Wales education officials have suspended their investigation into claims a Hunter boy with autism was locked in a cupboard, pending a police probe.

Police confirmed they were investigating the alleged incident, after the ABC revealed claims made by the boy's father David Roy.

He alleged his son was locked in a cupboard while attending a special needs unit at a Hunter region school in 2013.

Labor state member for Charlestown, Jodie Harrison, asked the Government for an independent investigation.

I think it is a good thing, not just for us but for multiple families across NSW, who have got concerns that they're allegations of abuse of their children by teaching staff are not investigated.

David Roy

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli responded, saying a departmental investigation was now on hold, pending the outcome of the police investigation.

The Office of the NSW Ombudsman also intends to monitor the matter.

The principal at the school has previously said that an investigation of original allegations found no evidence of reportable conduct — a finding that was upheld by departmental officials.

But Mr Roy said the Department of Education never investigated his allegations and only made inquiries.

The Minister said the teacher concerned would remain on duty, pending the outcome of the police investigation and any subsequent investigation by the department.

He said risk assessment was ongoing at the special needs unit, and further risk management strategies would be implemented where warranted.

Mr Piccoli said the safety, welfare and wellbeing of students in NSW public schools were of primary importance to the Department of Education.

Mr Roy said while he was still seeking answers, he was pleased his son's case was now on the radar of the Minister and other officials.

"I think it is a good thing, not just for us but for multiple families across NSW, who have got concerns that they're allegations of abuse of their children by teaching staff are not investigated," he said.

But Mr Roy said he was concerned the Minister had only acknowledged that one teacher was allegedly involved.

"I'm not just rejecting it, I am actually using the email evidence that the DEC [Department of Education and Communities] have sent us back in 2013, where they talk about teachers, where there are two teachers named within their documents, as well as within our original allegations," he said.

from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-11/mi...